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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes



Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (380 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Maggie Windham is the Duke of Moreland's eldest, but illegitimate, daughter. She leads a retiring, dignified life... until stolen letters bring Maggie to investigator Benjamin Hazlit's door. When it becomes clear Maggie is being blackmailed, Benjamin becomes determined to find not just the letters, but the way to Maggie's heart.

Secrets rule the lives of both Lady Maggie and Ben Hazlit. They're motivated by the same need—to protect family! The sensual, soul-satisfying love that twines itself around their hearts and holds on tight through the confusion and conflicts brings them from their shadowy personal lives.

Maggie, the illegitimate but adopted daughter of the Duke of Moreland, is a much-loved daughter and sister. But her early life still influences her actions. Thirty-year-old Maggie has her own home, her own funds, and lives in seclusion as much as her family will allow. Her acumen in financial matters is unusual. She has not only made herself wealthy, but has also helped her brother Gayle, Earl of Westhaven, put the family’s finances back in the prosperous column. She's the epitome of propriety, but regardless of all her precautions, she now needs help to keep her nemesis at bay.

Ben Hazlit, an investigator and friend of the Moreland family, is brusque but trustworthy, competent, and a man who keeps not only his own secrets but also the secrets of many elite families. He too avoids attention, living in the shadows. When he's hired by Lady Maggie to find a lost reticule, his world shifts and he takes Lady Maggie right along with him.

Sprinkled into Maggie and Ben’s story are snippets of the other Moreland family that intrigue if you have not read earlier books about the Morelands. However, if you have read them, it's like catching up with old friends and acquaintances. What a surprise to learn that Ester, the Duchess of Moreland, has a burdensome secret. She never falters in her determination to take care of her own and to her Maggie is “her own”. The love in this unique family enriches the story.

However, LADY MAGGIE’S SECRET SCANDAL stands alone with many new characters. Archer, Ben’s relative and fellow investigator, brings in delightful humor while being a valuable source of information. He has friends in all ranks of society who keep him well informed about what's going on in Society and in lower echelons of the population.

Cecily, an aging courtesan, her fourteen-year-old daughter Bridget, and their maid Adele Martin create a sub-plot that weaves itself into the main plot keeping the suspense high. While the rake and friend of Ben’s, Lord Deere, is truly a dear who helps pull off a daring caper that sends the heart racing.

Grace Burrowes’ exquisite writing style and her focus on the hero and heroine while weaving in subtle side stories make phenomenal reading. Her descriptions and ability to plumb the depths of the characters’ emotions keep the reader in the moment of the action. Best of all is the incredible, breathtaking love she weaves around Maggie and Ben—a love that promises a happy-ever-after that is so deserved.

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